For the fourth straight year, the San Jose Earthquakes missed out on the playoffs. For the second time in the last three years, the Quakes finished ninth in the Western Conference table and with fewer than 10 wins.
Although the Earthquakes have been fairly quiet on the signings front, the Quakes are shaking up their front office as Dave Kaval added a new role as president of the Oakland Athletics, giving him double duty between the A’s and the Quakes. Jared Shawlee was promoted to Chief Operating Officer to cover Kaval’s day-to-day duties with the club. The team also hired former Roma executive Jesse Fioranelli as its new general manager.
Let’s take a look at how the Earthquakes are shaping up for the 2017 season.
Nick Lima, Olmes Garcia
Bryan Meredith, Clarence Goodson, Tommy Thompson, Chad Barrett, Henok Goiton, Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart, Mark Sherrod, Kofi Sarkodie, Jordan Stewart, Marvell Wynne, Alberto Quintero
Round No. 1: 6th overall
Round No. 2: 28th overall
Round No. 3: 50th overall
Round No. 4: 72nd overall
The Quakes added a necessary sense of youth when they signed Cal defender Nick Lima to a homegrown contract just before Christmas. Lima is expected to add youth and athleticism to a backline that struggled last year.
But they have a long way to go. They need a solid No. 10 after they chose to trade an attacking midfielder in Matias Perez Garcia in the summer to Orlando City for a more defensive midfielder in Darwin Ceren.
San Jose also needs another attacking option opposite Chris Wondolowski. Wondo started hot in San Jose as he scored seven goals in the first eight matches of the season. However, he only went on to score just five more goals in his final 23 MLS appearances. The rest of the Quakes attack missed numerous chances, as did Wondolowski, throughout the second half of the season. San Jose won just three more matches from May 12 through the end of the year.
They acquired Olmes Garcia from the MLS Re-Entry Draft, adding depth up front while Quincy Amarikwa continues to recover from a torn ACL and LCL.
Whether or not San Jose makes a playoff run will depend on who becomes their new general manager and who they want to bring in. Their current roster doesn’t show much promise.
But they need to rediscover an identity in 2017. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it needs to be something that the club embraces and follows. In 2012, they were a physical, gritty team that won the Supporters’ Shield. It wasn’t as pretty as anyone would see overseas, but it worked.
Signing Nick Lima was a perfect move for the Quakes. They needed to get young in the backline and needed something to get the fans excited at Avaya Stadium. Lima, a Bay Area native, gives San Jose another hometown hero along with All-Star goalkeeper David Bingham (another Cal alum).
Head coach Dominic Kinnear hasn’t had much luck with a fairly weak roster. However, he was tasked with helping the Quakes develop a new identity in their new homeat Avaya Stadium, something they have yet to do.
San Jose still has moves to make and time to do so before training camp. But if Kinnear cannot get this team above the red line in the West, he’ll find himself back on the unemployment line with the Quakes on the outside looking in, again.